Fewer potholes, but work needed

Nearly 20,000 miles of Bay Area streets receive annual pavement-quality report card

Bay Area motorists are seeing fewer rough roads overall, but pavement quality on the region’s 19,500 miles of streets still leaves a lot of room for improvement, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission report released Wednesday.

The commission ranks pavement quality on a pavement condition index of 0 to 100. The Bay Area’s overall score rose from 64 in 2004 to 66 in 2005, but no individual city earned an “excellent” rating, which comes with a score of 89 or higher. San Francisco’s index rose from 64 to 65, earning it a “good” rating.

San Francisco set aside an additional $15 million in its 2006-07 budget for roadwork, providing the first full year of road funds in many years, according to Rebecca Krell, aide to Superviser Sean Elsbernd. The City has a backlog of roughly $380 million in road repair and maintenance and requires an annual $36.5 million to keep its streets in shape, she said.

“Cities use these scores as a way to measure their progress,” said John Goodwin, spokesman for the commission. “They can use this to determine whether additional funding needs to be dedicated to local road maintenance.”

San Mateo County’s scores ranged from a “very good” 82 in Foster City — the highest in the county — to Hillsborough, which was the lowest with a “fair” score of 58. Colma was dubbed “most improved” after its score jumped from 47 to 78. Half Moon Bay, which was dubbed worst in the Bay Area in 2001, has raised its 2005 score to 58 with the help of additional funding from a local hotel tax.

On the Peninsula, cities receive 22.5 percent of revenue from a local transportation sales tax for road maintenance and combine it with general fund dollars and other funding, according to Jonah Weinberg, spokesman for the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

Propositions 1A and 1B on the November ballot hold the potential to boost street-maintenance funds, according to Goodwin. Prop. 1A would make sure Proposition 42 gas-tax funds go to cities and transit agencies, rather than the state’s general fund, while 1B, the $20 billion transportation infrastructure bond, would bring $375 million to the Bay Area for road fixes.

However, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has estimated that the region’s roads need $16 billion between now and 2030 — and only $10 billion has been identified so far, Goodwin said.

Pitted, bumpy roads also have a cost to drivers, according to Sean Comey, spokesman for the California State Automobile Association.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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